CLEMSON, S.C. -- Mark Duffner has spoken kindly of his young Maryland football team, but he ran out of patience yesterday.
Duffner usually accentuates the positive in critiquing the Terps, but he didn't have much good to say after a 29-0 loss at Clemson. He has inflated his players through blowouts, the occasional moral victory and a lonesome win, but he blew up after the Terps succumbed in Death Valley.
In his first 82 games as a head coach, Duffner's side wasn't shut out, but it happened for the second time in three games. Particularly galling to Duffner were three drives that fizzled inside the Clemson 10-yard line. The Maryland defense continued its modest improvement, but lined up offside five times.
"The way we played today will not be tolerated," Duffner said. "Too much hard work has gone into the season to play the way we did. We can't beat anyone without executing. The thing that's irritating is that there were way too many penalties [10 for ,, 72 yards].
"You can't jump offsides seven times in the first half, or whatever. When [the offense] got down deep, we didn't protect well. We're a lot better team than we demonstrated."
Seven starters and two reserves left the game with injuries, and the Terps' pain wasn't soothed afterward.
"That's the first time I've ever seen him scream the way he was screaming in the locker room," senior defensive end Jaime Flores said of Duffner. "He mentioned all of the little things we have to do right, and that we didn't."
"Coach Duffner got on us pretty good after the game, and we deserved it," said sophomore quarterback Scott Milanovich, who had 223 yards passing, his second-lowest figure of the season. "You know when the guys across from you are better, but that wasn't the case today. I really feel we're a better team than them. What it came down to is that we didn't want it bad enough."
Maryland (1-7) had two weeks to enjoy its lone victory, over Duke, and prepare for Clemson, a team it stunned last year, 53-23. The Terps regressed before the half of the 62,000 with tickets who showed up in the drizzle at Memorial Stadium, and Maryland hopes the damage isn't too severe next Saturday, when No. 1 Florida State comes to Byrd Stadium.
Carolina and Virginia, its next two opponents. The Tigers are hoping for a postseason invitation, but they haven't bowled over anyone, and let Maryland hang around for 50 minutes.
It was 12-0 with 10 minutes left when the game turned on consecutive plays that exemplified the Terps' shortcomings in 1993.
The offense that was on target in the first four games has #F become the gang that couldn't shoot straight, as the attack-zone failures of the Oct. 9 shutout loss at Georgia Tech were revisited.
On their second possession, the Terps drove 71 yards to the Clemson 8-yard line, but Milanovich and Mark Mason botched a handoff and the Tigers recovered the fumble. Maryland moved 86 yards late in the half, but John Milligan was wide-right on a 20-yard field-goal attempt.
Despite those wasted opportunities, the Terps were alive in the fourth quarter, thanks to a defense that wasn't playing like the worst-rated in Division I-A. Mason and top receiver Jermaine Lewis were out with injuries, but Maryland managed to move from its 28 to a first down at the Clemson 16.
A first-down pass netted 5 yards, and two runs by Kameron Williams got 3. On fourth down at the 8, Clemson laid back, and when none of his receivers could come open, Milanovich was dropped for a 2-yard loss.
The Terps' offense trudged off and the defense on, but they traded places again after the next play. Clemson senior halfback Derrick Witherspoon was stopped inside, but bounced right and sped for an 89-yard touchdown down the right sideline.
The longest run in Memorial Stadium history took the life out of the Terps, who allowed Nelson Welch his third field goal with 7:03 left and the Tigers' third touchdown 49 seconds from the end.
Contrary to Maryland's analysis, Clemson coach Ken Hatfield said his guys deserved some of the credit.
"The last time I looked, you've got to play the game on the field," xTC Hatfield said. "We made the plays to be up 29-0."
The Tigers, who rank last in the ACC in total offense, began their season-high scoring total by driving 66 yards in eight plays for a touchdown, the first time that has happened this season on their first possession. Witherspoon, who went the final yard for the touchdown, had 286 yards in the Tigers' first seven games, but 172 yesterday.
Clemson crammed 197 of its 435 yards of total offense into the last 10 minutes. Its defense got seven sacks, a school-record-tying three from linebacker Wardell Rouse, and limited Milanovich's options for the entire 60 minutes.
It was the second straight shutout for the Tigers, the first time that has happened in 30 years, but the previous week's came against East Tennessee State, a Division I-AA team brought in for homecoming, not the second-leading passing attack in the nation.
"I didn't think this could happen," offensive line leader Steve Ingram said. "It doesn't matter how many times we move the ball downfield, we have to put it in the end zone. We become tight down there. If we're going to win, we have to start making the plays."
Florida State 54, Wake Forest 0
Ohio State 24, Penn State 6
Miami 42, Temple 7
Nebraska 21, Colorado 17
Tennessee 55, South Carolina 3
Auburn 31, Arkansas 21
Florida 33, Georgia 26